The White Sox opened their first homestand since they were officially eliminated from the postseason picture on Monday, so the floor is officially open for questions about 2014. But with nearly two months of baseball left, Rick Hahn still can't Hahn it up for a while, so specific answers about the heftiest issues still have to wait.
Hahn talked to the media before Monday's game and spoke mostly in generalities about the final few weeks, and what it means heading into acting for 2014.
Nothing is particularly unexpected about Hahn's comments -- the Sox need to improve at several positions, they might have to dip into their young pitching to make deals, and he wouldn't comment on specific players or the free agent market (the most targeted quote I saw concerned "room for improvement" with the catching situation).
If you wanted to read into something, this is the best I can find:
Hahn indicated conversations about the future for Paul Konerko and assessment of the White Sox coaching staff will come at the season's end.
I'm guessing this is a blanket statement, and not a hint of a possible overhaul, since he was quite supportive of the staff last month. But then again, Hahn did point out how poorly the Sox played on their most recent road trip:
"The guys inside the coaching room and the clubhouse know how we feel about the level of play we’re getting. I think we had a real nice stretch before we left on this road trip, and on this road trip you saw a reoccurrence of poor fundamental play and poor defensive play and bad base running and all the things that plagued us early in the year that we’ve put all sorts or adjectives on. I guess "unacceptable" would be an OK [label] to add to that list."
So there could be a change or two in store, and Scot Gregor has one idea:
The guess here is Jim Thome replaces Jeff Manto as hitting coach, assuming the future Hall of Famer is comfortable returning to the grind with a wife and two young children at home. Another guess? Thome will be ready.
Thome was shown chatting with Kenny Williams in the Scout Seats during the broadcast of Monday's gamew. With Charlie Manuel unemployed, Thome could have open access to his counsel. You know, while we're theorizing.
It's been officially five years since the Sox last made the playoffs. That kinda undermines the M.O. of aiming to contend every season when you don't make the postseason in any of them, and nullifies the organization's financial and geographical advantages as well.
The White Sox missing the playoffs for what is now officially five-straight seasons as of this weekend is not as easily shrugged off. As much as the expertise of the team’s front office and their exclusive awareness of the financial realities of their industry must be deferred to, their public insistence on avoiding rebuilding because they believe they can compete immediately combined with their continued failure to reap any rewards of competing immediately, calls into question how in touch they are with the reality of the strength of their organization.
So when Hahn suggests a turnaround can be quicker than one thinks, hopefully that rationale is merely allowing for the possibility of good fortune from a measure-twice-cut-once approach, rather than crossing fingers while swearing that this shortcut will totally work this time, we swear.
- Are the Sox brushing? Garcia another player with tooth issue, misses game - Chicago Sun-Times
- Don Cooper returns, Avisail Garcia out Sox - Chicago White Sox Blog - ESPN Chicago
Good headline on the Sun-Times story about Avisail Garcia becoming the third White Sox player to undergo a dental procedure this year. Turns out it was a double root canal, so he one-upped Hector Santiago. But at least Don Cooper was back on the bench.
- Life good for Paul Konerko, but he'd love to be Derek Jeter—or a shortstop—for a day - Sporting News
Jesse Spector is back on baseball after dabbling in hockey for a year. His Q&A's can be entertaining, and this one with Paul Konerko works. He couldn't get a favorite stat out of Konerko (different players require different stats to matter), but Konerko did say he wanted to play shortstop for a day. Part of me really wants to see that, and part of me thinks I'd immediately regret wanting to if it actually happened.
This isn't a big surprise if you saw how this same story worked out two years ago.
"For some reason, people take that as I’m retiring. Is this year hard? Yeah, it’s hard. Has it been one of the harder ones? Yeah, because the expectations that we had in this locker room were so high. To play like we are playing, it’s a huge letdown. I don’t know where that comes into that I’m retiring."
angers angries up the blood.
The Pirates locked in their first winning season since 1992 on Monday. Bucs Dugout is fairly pumped about it.